Mar 1, 2018

Easy to setup free open source backup server

The other day I was looking for a new backup solution. I wanted one that I could use for my day job potentially, and also perhaps as a side business for local businesses around me. You see, I found that through VPS Dime, I can get a 2TB Linux VPS server for as low as $28 per month! If I setup a cloud based backup server on it, I could charge small businesses a lower monthly fee than Mozy charges, and still make a profit! I digress...

Anyway, one open source backup solution I found was really easy to setup, so I thought I'd share it with you. It's called UrBackup!

Here are features from their page:
  • Full and incremental image and file backups: Whole partitions can be saved as well as single directories
  • Clients for Windows, Linux and Max OS X
  • Fast calculation of file tree differences leads to very fast incremental file backups - only new changed files will be retransmitted
  • Only used and changed hard disk sectors are transmitted during an incremental image backup
  • Image and file backups while the system is running
  • Conistent backups of used files on Windows and Linux. For example Outlook .pst files
  • Same files on different computers are saved only once. Less server storage space is needed for your backups (file level deduplication)
  • Clients can change their settings like backup frequency or number of backups and can take a look at logfiles of their backups
  • Next to no configuration. Install, select the directories you want to backup and watch it backup
  • Client warns if there was no backup for some time
  • Webinterface that shows the status of the clients, current activities and statistics. It allows the administrator to change backup settings and override the settings for the clients. Existing file backups can be browsed, files from these backups can be extracted or restore processes started
  • Reports about backups can be send to users or administrators
  • Secure and efficient backups to your own server via Internet if the client is currently not in your local network
  • File metadata such as last modified time is backed up
  • Easy to use file and image restore (via restore CD/USB stick)
  • Easy to configure and use file backup access
They also list the following as one of UrBackup's limitations:
Image backups only work with NTFS formated volumes and with the Windows client. The drives must be MBR or GPT partitioned, the partition must be a primary one. Dynamic volumes are not supported. Mirrored dynamic volumes work, but are not officially supported. Backup to VHD files only works for volumes with a size of less than 2TB.
This really isn't it's only limitation though. One glaring limitation, which caused me to decide not to use this tool, is that it doesn't provide for encrypted backups at rest. Now, one could probably store the backups using full disk encryption and be fine with it, but I need something that stores backups at rest with or without full disk encryption.

It does offer the ability to encrypt backups in transit if you only allow clients to backup using Internet mode, which does help out quite a bit.

I installed this on an Ubuntu test server in about five minutes. To install in Ubuntu, all you have to do is run the following from the terminal:
  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:uroni/urbackup
  • sudo apt update
  • sudo apt install urbackup-server
Other versions for various operating systems can be found here (UrBackup Download).

So, to reiterrate, I opted not to use this solution for the fact that it doesn't offer encryption of the backup data at rest. If they do implement this feature, I'm certain to take another look at it. If this isn't a requirement for you though, then I highly recommend it!

Do you know of a better open source backup solution? What do you use? Let us know in the comments!

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